SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T S

Virender Sehwag will miss the ODIs due to a shoulder injury Injured Sehwag out of ODIs
Dubai, December 30
India were today dealt a massive blow ahead of next month's ODI series against South Africa with aggressive opener Virender Sehwag ruled out due to a shoulder injury.


Virender Sehwag will miss the ODIs due to a shoulder injury

No premature celebrations for India
Durban, December 30
The greatest bane of Indian cricket during the past decade has been lack of consistency. Thanks to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys, they are trying to buck the trend. May be that's the reason why the players were in no mood for wild celebrations as they realise that the series is still not over.



EARLIER STORIES

Durban Legend
December
30, 2010
Anybody’s game
December
29, 2010
Bowlers give india edge
December
28, 2010
New test,old failings
December
27, 2010
Series, pride at stake for India
December
26, 2010
Tame Amla or go down 2-0: Smith
December
25, 2010
Curator promises fair pitch
December
24, 2010
India looking for answers
December
23, 2010
Sachin back in ODI & T20 team
December
22, 2010

Umpire Davis was drunk: SA players
Sources in the Proteas camp said Davis was regularly seen in a particular bar
Johannesburg, December 30
South African cricketers have alleged that they spotted umpire Steve Davis drunk on the eve of India's series-levelling Durban Test and are now mulling lodging a complaint against the Australian who controversially ruled AB de Villiers out in the hosts' second innings.

Yearender 4: indian tennis
Somdev Devvarman won two gold medals at the Asian Games and one at the Commonwealth Games Year of the prodigal Som
Somdev Devvarman scripted a new chapter in Indian tennis by picking golds in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games to blaze a winning trail in the year that was. The 25-year-old first asserted his class in the men's singles of the 9th Commonwealth Games when he annexed the singles gold with a classy display at the R.K.Khanna Stadium in New Delhi. 
Somdev Devvarman won two gold medals at the Asian Games and one at the Commonwealth Games

Ponting ‘devastated’
Sydney, December 30
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said today he was not considering retirement after being ruled out of next week's fifth Ashes Test against England with a broken finger. X-rays revealed that Ponting had suffered further damage to a fractured little finger suffered earlier in the series while playing in the fourth Melbourne Test, which England won by an innings and 157 runs to retain the Ashes yesterday. Ponting said he was devastated to be missing the final Ashes Test and was adamant retirement was not on his mind.

SAF Winter Games from January 10
Dehradun, December 30
The first South Asian Federation (SAF) Winter Games, orginally scheduled to be held about a fortnight from now, have been postponed again. After missing several deadlines, the Winter Games are finally scheduled to be inaugurated on January 10. As per the new dates, the ice-skating events will be held from January 10 to 12 in Dehradun while skiing events are fixed to be held from January 10 to 16 in Auli in Chamoli district.

5 Indians selected for AIBA panels
New Delhi, December 30
Manisha Malhotra has become the first Indian to be nominated chairperson of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Women’s Commission. Manisha, a tennis player of repute, has represented India at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, where she won a silver medal.

Oz decline similar to WI, says Holding
London, December 30
West Indies legend Michael Holding Michael Holding feels the Australian cricket team's decline is similar to the West Indies and attributed it to a "lost generation of players" who did not get a chance due to the presence of older stalwarts in the side a few years ago. "There is almost a lost generation of Australian players in their late twenties — players who should have been learning their trade during the 2006-07 Ashes, but couldn't find a spot.
West Indies legend Michael Holding

 


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Injured Sehwag out of ODIs

Dubai, December 30
India were today dealt a massive blow ahead of next month's ODI series against South Africa with aggressive opener Virender Sehwag ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

Sehwag, who had nursed a shoulder injury a few months ago as well, will be replaced by Rohit Sharma in the squad for the five-match series starting here on January 12.

"Virender Sehwag has been advised to withdraw from the ODI series against South Africa to tend to his shoulder. Rohit Sharma will replace him in the squad," the BCCI said in a statement.

"Murali Vijay will stay back in South Africa for the ODI series, as the 17th playing member of the squad," Board secretary N Srinivasan added.

The previous shoulder problem had forced the 32-year-old out of the ICC World Twenty20 Championships in May. India is currently playing a three-Test series against the Proteas, which is locked 1-1 after the visitors notched up an 87 run win in the second Test yesterday. The third Test will be played from January 2 in Cape Town.

Career best ranking for Laxman, Zaheer


Zaheer (L) and Laxman were stand-out performers in the 2nd Test
Zaheer (L) and Laxman were stand-out performers in the 2nd Test.

The match-winning 96-run knock in the Durban Test today catapulted VVS Laxman to a career-best ninth in the batting chart while paceman Zaheer Khan's good show also helped him touch his career-best mark of number four in the bowling list of latest ICC rankings. Laxman's effort in the second innings played a pivotal role in India's 87-run win, which helped India level the three-match series 1-1, and also pushed him six places up.

It is for the first time that Laxman has entered into the top-10 zone. The wristy Hyderabadi is now the third Indian batsman inside the top-10 with Sachin Tendulkar sitting in the second position and Virender Sehwag occupying the fourth spot.

Zaheer Khan recorded figures of 3-36 and 3-57 in India's win at Durban and has been rewarded with a jump of three places which puts him along side James Anderson of England. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has also improved his ranking by two places and is now in eighth position after match figures of 6-80.

Paceman S Sreesanth jumped lifted six places to 27th position after match figures of 4-86. In contrast, South Africa's top four batsmen failed to retain their places. Jacques Kallis slipped to fifth (down by two places), AB de Villiers to sixth (down by one place), Hashim Amla to 12th (down by three places) and Graeme Smith to 14th (down by three places).

For South Africa, the only consolation is that Dale Steyn has strengthened his number-one ranking by opening up 83 points advantage over his closest rival, Graeme Swann of England. Steyn is now just three ratings points away from reaching the 900-point mark. Steyn took 6-50 and 2-60, for which he earned 21 ratings points giving him a career-best rating of 897.

If Steyn manages to earn three more ratings points in Cape Town, he will become only the second South Africa bowler after Shaun Pollock (November 1999) and 20th overall to reach the 900-point mark which, in rankings terms, is the benchmark for top bowlers.

Meanwhile England's Jonathan Trott, whose undefeated 168 helped England to take a 415-run first innings lead which eventually resulted in an innings and 157 runs victory over Australia, has climbed seven places to claim third position. Trott is now just nine ratings points behind Tendulkar.

The two can swap places depending on how they perform in the final Tests of the series which start in Sydney and Cape Town, respectively next week. The other England batsmen moving in the right direction are Alastair Cook in 13th position (up by one place) and Kevin Pietersen in 21st spot (up by four places).

The news is not very good for Australia whose top-order batsmen have taken a dive in the rankings. Mike Hussey has dropped four places to share 10th position with Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera, Shane Watson has fallen two places to 15th spot. Michael Clarke has slipped three places to 24th position. — PTI

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No premature celebrations for India

Durban, December 30
The greatest bane of Indian cricket during the past decade has been lack of consistency. Thanks to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys, they are trying to buck the trend. May be that's the reason why the players were in no mood for wild celebrations as they realise that the series is still not over.

Although, there was customary celebrations in the dressing room as players were busy collecting souvenirs and memorabilias, the scene was quiet different when the team reached hotel. The players were busy doing their own things and there was no party as such to celebrate the success.

"We have won a match and not the series. So we are not yet in full celebration mood. We understand that we have to play well in all important 3rd Test. The Proteas will come hard at us. We will definitely have fun during the year-end party but we have to get set for the battle in Cape Town," a senior member said.

"All of us were extremely disappointed the way we lost Centurion test. We could have done better. Coming to Durban we were determined to play well in the 2nd Test. "Our plan was to be aggressive on the field. While batting, bowling and fielding as well. We showed that Indian team can play well on any wicket. Durban win is very special for our team," said beaming VVS Laxman.

Thursday was a day when the players were given off. Sachin Tendulkar along with Harbhajan Singh however left for Cape Town by a morning flight.

Tendulkar will be celebrating the New Year with his family as wife Anjali and kids Sara and Arjun will join him. The other members will leave for Cape Town tomorrow morning. As it was on off-day, most of the other members of the squad got up late.

A few players were seen trying their hand at the pool table while others were busy doing some shopping. The Delhi trio of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma were seen cooling their heels at the picturesque North Beach in Durban. — PTI

Tendulkar and Harbhajan left for Cape Town by a morning flight. Tendulkar will be celebrating the New Year with his family as wife Anjali and kids Sara and Arjun will join him.

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Umpire Davis was drunk: SA players
Sources in the Proteas camp said Davis was regularly seen in a particular bar

Johannesburg, December 30
South African cricketers have alleged that they spotted umpire Steve Davis drunk on the eve of India's series-levelling Durban Test and are now mulling lodging a complaint against the Australian who controversially ruled AB de Villiers out in the hosts' second innings.

The Proteas reportedly saw the 58-year-old umpire "in a drunken condition" at the Umhlanga hotel where both teams and match officials had stayed during the Durban Test. Sources in the Proteas camp, on condition of anonymity, told the Afrikaans daily "Beeld" that Davis was regularly seen in a particular bar over the past week.

They said he was also seen stumbling into the Sandton hotel in the early hours of the morning during the first Test in Centurion last week. Proteas team manager, Mohammed Moosajee, referred the daily's query to Vincent van der Bijl, head of the ICC referees Panel, who said he was aware of the "stunning" allegations but declined to comment on whether Davis would face any disciplinary action.

"There are established procedures to be followed and (any action) can only occur as soon as we receive an official complaint," Van der Bijl said. Davis, along with his Pakistani colleague, Asad Rauf, committed quite a few umpiring blunders during the second Test, with lbw decisions involving de Villiers and Mark Boucher being the most important ones. Television replays showed that both decisions were wrong. — PTI

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Yearender 4: indian tennis
Year of the prodigal Som
M.S. Unnikrishnan
Tribune News Service

Somdev Devvarman scripted a new chapter in Indian tennis by picking golds in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games to blaze a winning trail in the year that was.

The 25-year-old first asserted his class in the men's singles of the 9th Commonwealth Games when he annexed the singles gold with a classy display at the R.K.Khanna Stadium in New Delhi. With a golden double in the Asian Games at Guangzhou, he showed that his class was permanent, and he was here to stay for a long haul, to effectively fill the vacuum of a solid singles player lying vacant in the Indian team for a long time.

This was for the first time that an Indian player had entered the men's singles title round. Though Leander Paes (Hiroshima, 1994), Mahesh Bhupathi and Prahlad Srinath (Bangkok, 1998) had won bronze medals in Asiad singles events, Somdev's feat of winning golds in the singles and doubles was a unique achievement. After a gap of 24 years, the same player featured in both the singles and doubles title wins. Somdev also helped the team to a bronze, and his three-medal haul was a brilliant showing by any yardstick. Though Paes had paired with Bhupathi and Sania Mirza to lift the men's doubles and mixed doubles golds in the 2006 Asiad at Doha, a singles gold had eluded these star players.

Even Sania, having a more formidable reputation than the 106th-ranked Somdev, had to settle for minor pickings as her golden dream was mercilessly shattered in both the Commonwealth Games and the Asiad. Sania paired with her Hyderabad colleague, debutant Vishnu Vardhan, to bag the mixed doubles silver while Sanam Singh played alongside Somdev for the men's doubles gold.

An interesting aspect of the Asiad triumph was that all the players who featured in the medals bracket were hugely benefited by the systematic tournament and training programmes of the All India Tennis Association. Though Somdev basically came through the American Collegiate programme while at the University of Virgina, having made three consecutive NCAA singles championships, he was nurtured by the AITA, and gave him a timely break in the Davis Cup against Uzbekistan in 1998.

Though his debut was a disaster, when Dennis Istomin crushed him at the R.K. Khanna Stadium in Delhi, and he lost to Istomin once more in a Toronto tournament, he exacted his revenge against the top seed and 40th-ranked Istomin in the Asiad.

Somdev seems to take great pride in playing for the country as he gave his all to win golds in the CWG and Asiad. Even Sania, who had once declared that she would not play in India when a series of controversies dogged her, sacrificed some WTA events which would have earned her valuable ranking points, to play in the Asiad.

Sania, with a silver in mixed doubles and bronze in singles, collected six medals overall from three Asian Games. Her patriotism seems to have soared after she married Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik, as she also asserted that she would not give up her Indian citizenship!

Paes, Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, however, skipped the Asiad to play in the World Doubles Championship in London, held on the same dates. Nobody questions the patriotism of these veteran players, yet they thought nothing of giving the Asian Games the miss, robbing India of another gold in the mixed doubles.

"It's a dream come true. No one comes to the Asiad with the intention of winning two gold medals. Representing the country gives me the greatest pleasure", Somdev had remarked after his Asiad triumph. Thanks to him, India collected five medals in China, which was two more than the team won at Doha.

It was a remarkable year for Somdev, as he also broke into the 100 ranking, 11 years after Paes had achieved the feat.

There has been lingering doubts about who would step into Paes and Bhupathi's shoes as those who were expected to follow had failed to rise to the challenge, like Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj. (Prakash has now been barred from representing the country through a Government fiat for being an American citizen, as Persons of Indian Origin settled abroad are not eligible to don the country's colours).

Somdev had sharpened his skills when he powered India to a 3-2 victory over Brazil in the Davis Cup earlier in the year, which helped the hosts re-enter the World Group.

When he stunned former world No 1 Carlos Moya in the 2009 Chennai Open, though the Spaniard was past his prime, the tennis world stood up and took note of this young boy with a long face and asymmetrical body structure. He went on to make the final of the event, before crashing to Croat Marin Cilic. But he had made his mark, which got fortified when he qualified for the main draw of his first Grand Slam, the US Open, and entered the second round. From then on, Somdev has been on a song, to the delight of Indian tennis fans.




Sania, with a silver in mixed doubles and bronze in singles, collected six medals overall from three Asian Games. Her patriotism seems to have soared after she married Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik, as she also asserted that she would not give up her Indian citizenship

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Ponting ‘devastated’

Sydney, December 30
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said today he was not considering retirement after being ruled out of next week's fifth Ashes Test against England with a broken finger. X-rays revealed that Ponting had suffered further damage to a fractured little finger suffered earlier in the series while playing in the fourth Melbourne Test, which England won by an innings and 157 runs to retain the Ashes yesterday. Ponting said he was devastated to be missing the final Ashes Test and was adamant retirement was not on his mind.

"I'm devastated to tell you the truth, it was the news I was dreading," Ponting said. "During the game I didn't think I'd done too much more to it." Despite the injury setback, which means Ponting's next chance to play a Test may not come before August next year, he said he was adamant he was not thinking of quitting. "I'm not thinking about it at all," he told reporters.

Ponting, who fractured his little left finger while attempting a slips catch in the third Test in Perth, has been under immense pressure after becoming the only Australian skipper to fail to win the Ashes three times. There was speculation during the fourth Test that Ponting's time might be up after a run of low scores and disciplinary issues in the twilight of a celebrated playing career.

Ponting, 36, Test cricket's second-greatest run-scorer behind India's Sachin Tendulkar, has had a dire series, making just 113 runs in eight innings at an average of 16, prompting calls for his removal as captain. Vice-captain Michael Clarke is expected to lead Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday, with the team to be announced later today. "Ricky Ponting had a repeat X-ray after the fourth Test which showed evidence that the fracture of his fifth (left) finger has moved during the course of the Melbourne Test," team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a statement.

"As such he needs to commence treatment immediately to achieve a satisfactory outcome. "The treatment options include surgery or aggressive splinting and immobilisation of the injured finger." — AFP

X-rays revealed that Ponting had suffered further damage to a fractured little finger and would miss the sydney test

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SAF Winter Games from January 10
Sandeep Rana/TNS

Dehradun, December 30
The first South Asian Federation (SAF) Winter Games, orginally scheduled to be held about a fortnight from now, have been postponed again.

After missing several deadlines, the Winter Games are finally scheduled to be inaugurated on January 10. As per the new dates, the ice-skating events will be held from January 10 to 12 in Dehradun while skiing events are fixed to be held from January 10 to 16 in Auli in Chamoli district.

Earlier the Games were scheduled to be played in two phases, the first, the skiing events, at Auli from January 7 to 10. The second phase would see ice-skating events at Dehradun from January 14 to 17.

The organisers also failed to hold the skiing practice camp and open skiing championship, scheduled to be held from Dec 13 to 23 and Dec 27 to 30, respectively, due to non-setting of artificial snow at Auli.

“On account of failure to set snow in Auli, the skiing open championship has been rescheduled to be held on January 7 and 8 in Auli,” said Prakash Chand Thapliyal, spokesperson of the SAF Winter Games.

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5 Indians selected for AIBA panels
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
Manisha Malhotra has become the first Indian to be nominated chairperson of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Women’s Commission. Manisha, a tennis player of repute, has represented India at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, where she won a silver medal.

According to an IBF release, the others from Indian nominated to various posts are: Kishen Narsi (Member, AIBA WSB Commission); Jay Kowli (Member, AIBA Youth & Athletes Commission); G.S. Sandhu (Member, AIBA Coaches Commission) and Dr. Tarun Kumar Tamta (Member, AIBA Medical Commission).

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Oz decline similar to WI, says Holding

London, December 30
Michael Holding feels the Australian cricket team's decline is similar to the West Indies and attributed it to a "lost generation of players" who did not get a chance due to the presence of older stalwarts in the side a few years ago. "There is almost a lost generation of Australian players in their late twenties — players who should have been learning their trade during the 2006-07 Ashes, but couldn't find a spot because there were so many exceptional thirtysomethings in the team," Holding said while explaining the Aussie downfall.

The former fast bowler felt the fall has a lot to do with mindset rather than the skills. "There comes a tipping point when your opponents realise that you are human after all, and suddenly they stand a foot taller when they walk on to the field against you," he explained. — PTI

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 BRIEFLY

‘India don’t rely on Sachin only’
New Delhi:
The series-levelling victory over South Africa in the second Test in Duban proves that India are no longer a one-man team and can win matches without champion batsman Sachin Tendulkar's contribution, feels former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram. After losing the series opener in Centurion by an innings and 25 runs, India came back strongly to beat South Africa by 87 runs in the second Test at Kingsmead yesterday. "Even on a wicket like Durban, India performed exceptionally well. The team played like a unit. It's a team that does not rely on the services of one particular player. I remember, in our times, it was Sachin Tendulkar all the time. "Ten years back whenever we would get Sachin out, it was all over for India. But now, the scenario is different. The opposition team has to make sure that they get all the batsmen before breathing easy," Akram said. — PTI

England can beat India: Gough
London:
In what could raise the hackles of the Indians, former England fast bowler Darren Gough today said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men are champions only at home and England can beat them "every day of the week". Gough said England were the best team in the world at the moment after their innings drubbing of Australia in the fourth Ashes Test, and India's performance in South Africa have nothing much to write about. "For me, we're the best team in the world at this moment. I've watched the South Africa-India series and I see nothing to worry about. India are fantastic in their own country and have some great individuals but I'd fancy this England side to beat them every day of the week," Gough said. — PTI

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for WC song
New Delhi:
There will be a touch of Bollywood in next year's cricket World Cup in the sub-continent with the celebrated Indian musical trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composing the event's official theme song titled 'De Ghumaa Ke' with versions in Hindi, Bangla and Sinhalese. All three versions will feature in the build-up to and during the tournament that will run from Februar 19 to April 2 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The three are one of the most popular and critically acclaimed music directors of Bollywood. Some of their famous works includes scores for movies such as Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Bunty Aur Babli (2005), Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), Don - The Chase Begins Again (2006), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Rock on!! (2008), Wake Up Sid (2009), My Name is Khan (2010) and Housefull (2010). — TNS

Clarke to lead Australia
Sydney:
Michael Clarke will captain Australia against England in the final Ashes Test next week in the absence of injured skipper Ricky Ponting, Cricket Australia said today. Vice-captain Clarke was promoted to captain after Ponting was ruled out with a fractured little finger. Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was named vice-captain under Clarke for the Sydney Test, which gets underway on Monday. — AFP

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